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The Power Of Leadership Talent Magnets

November 2020
Tojo Eapen
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Organizations need leaders who can attract and bring out the best in their teams

The world is moving at a faster pace, and organizations are vying to lead through uncertainty and complexity. Acquiring, engaging, and retaining talent in the industry related to high impact areas of strategic importance is becoming a top priority for all organizations. Corporations rely on their talent for innovative solutions to problems seldom seen previously. They become real assets for any organization looking to set itself apart from the competition.

Leaders who are capable of attracting and bringing out the best in their teams – and with whom internal and external stakeholder prefer to engage – are called “talent magnets.” They tend to be present in all functions, irrespective of roles or seniority, and attract other talented and competent individuals to their teams. It is not surprising to notice that many successful organizations (for-profit, nonprofit, or governmental) have these talent magnets in leadership or management roles. Employees, consultants, contractors, partners, customers, and communities prefer to collaborate actively with such talent magnets. Talent magnets in leadership roles often deliver tremendous unrecognized value to their organization’s brand, collaborative culture, and results. In today’s fast-changing and increasingly virtual environments, they play an even more important role in their organization’s success.

 

Leadership talent magnets play a critical role in facilitating the flow of energy efficiently in an organization and exhibit certain common behavioral traits.

·         They treat everyone with respect and are thoughtful in interactions. In times of need, they stand by their team members and peers and offer genuine support.

·         Talent magnets encourage diversity and a culture of inclusion. They do not expect or encourage others to be their copy and instead foster authenticity, honesty, and transparency with a growth mindset.

·         They are willing to share responsibility and recognition.

·         They show humility and are easily accessible to their stakeholders. They acknowledge their mistakes and vulnerabilities to create trust.

·         When a correction has to happen with a team member, they are willing to have respectful, engaging, and difficult developmental conversations, as well.

·         They are emotionally intelligent and prefer not to jump to quick conclusions without listening to multiple perspectives. They do not blindly push their own agenda.

·         They push the boundaries of learning and self-development to motivate those around them. They recognize the unique strengths, development areas, and competencies that team members bring to their work. They build confidence by sharing reinforcing feedback and encouraging a continuous development mindset. Other talented people feel more secure and flourish under and after them.

·         They try to constantly understand and work toward the larger picture while executing their deliverables. While reflecting on the context and what is best for the organization, their actions may sometimes hurt their own individual short-term standing or official objectives (KRAs), but they may still consciously choose to benefit the larger cause.

·         They don’t play politics but maturely acknowledge, recognize, and navigate related elements. They encourage collaboration internally and externally and do not pit one team against another. They lead by role modeling, manage through negative or toxic environments effectively, and neutralize or positively energize team members and environments.

·         They establish and encourage fairness and take a strong stand against unfair practices and behaviors. They are willing to initiate and engage in respectful conversations with all stakeholders.

·         They are reliable and stick to their word. If for some reason something promised or committed changes, they openly try to explain, discuss, and clarify directly with the individuals involved.

·         They sometimes go beyond the organization’s stated policies and guidelines to nurture new talent when noticing potential.

·         They build long-term relationships that extend beyond a single organization.

As a result of many of the above behaviors, talent magnets also wield higher influence within and outside their organizations. Most stakeholders are willing to listen to their perspectives and act on their advice.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are “talent repellers,” who most stakeholders seem to try to actively avoid, even though they may be highly competent technically. The challenge here is that any seeming positive result happens in the short term with simmering toxic environments and unsustainable ways of working. This can be extremely costly for organizations during tough times and in the long run due to a loss of energy, commitment, talent, and key partners.

Intelligent leaders devote time and energy to become talent magnets and continuously improve related behaviors. They also hire and develop other talent magnets within their teams, thereby developing a culture of active collaboration and engagement with a shared focus.

Organizations often speak about the need for a competent work force and advanced leadership. For any forward-looking organization, it is imperative to establish a brand not only for its products and services but also for its leadership and culture. Talent magnets can truly amplify the positive elements of working at an organization, and it becomes important for any organization to develop, recognize, and promote them.

Have you observed talent magnets in action? Would you aspire to work for or become one?

About the Author:
Tojo Eapen is a Partner at the India offices of Stanton Chase. He has worked at organizations in APAC, the United States, and Europe.

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